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Canon Powershot S95 Review

At first the Canon PowerShot S95 seems to be just another point-and-shooter: compact, all black and stylish. Then a quick glance over the specs and external controls leads you to think otherwise.

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Canon Powershot S95 Features

The CCD has 10.0 megapixels; the lens is a fast f2 zoom that has a range from 28-105mm as a 35 SLR equivalent.

In exposure, it has access to Program AE as well as shutter and aperture priority plus manual.
Using a hybrid IS system the camera offers a more advanced image stabilisation, reducing camera shake by the equivalent of four f stops.

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The camera has a High Dynamic Range mode accomplished by simultaneously capturing three images with different exposures, then combining them into a single image using in-camera software.

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Maximum image size is 3648×2736 pixels, enabling a 31×23 cm print to be made at 300 dpi. Movies: 1280×720 pixels at 30 fps.

And the good news keeps coming: you can shoot pictures in RAW and JEPG as well as simultaneous RAW+JPEG files saved to the card.

The less than good news is the maximum continuous speed is only 1.9 images/second with focus and exposure set before shooting; if you want continuous focus, the capture rate is only seven frames in 10 seconds. The camera will continue shooting as long as you hold down the shutter button.

Canon Powershot S95 ISO Tests

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At ISO 80, superb of course.

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At ISO 400, nearly as good but with a very slight rise in noise.

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At ISO 800, nearly the same as ISO 400.

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At ISO 1600, not much noisier than ISO 800. Still useable.

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At ISO 3200, noise is noticeable and definition lower. Useable at a pinch.

Startup Time

It took less than two seconds from power on to first shot. Follow-ons about a second apart.


There was no sign of any distortion with the zoom lens set at wide and tele. A good performance.

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There’s not much to whinge about… except the all black finish naturally leads to the top controls — power and shutter are in black —being hard to see. Maybe it’s me.

I found the S95 a delight to use, very pro and quick. Quality: pin sharp pics, excellent tonal range.

Why you would buy the S95: you would prefer a vari-angle LCD screen; you need RAW capture.
Why you wouldn’t: the camera does not shoot Full HD 1920×1080 pixels; it does not offer Adobe RGB colour space.

However, this is a very special camera.

Canon Powershot S95 Specifications

Image Sensor: 10.0 million effective pixels.
Metering: Evaluative, centre-weighted average, spot.
Sensor Size: 14.9mm CCD.
Lens: Canon f2.0-4.9/6.0-22.5mm (28-105mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Shutter Speed: 15 to 1/1600 second.
Continuous Shooting: 0.8 to 1.9 images/second.
Memory: SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMC plus cards.
Image Sizes (pixels): 3648×2736 to 640×360. Movies: 1280×720, 640×480, 320×240 at 30 fps.
LCD Screen: 7.6cm LCD (461,000 pixels).
File Formats: RAW, JPEG, RAW+JPEG, Motion JPEG.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 80 to 3200.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, AV.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 99.8×58.4×29.5 WHDmm.
Weight: Approx. 193 g (inc battery and card).
Price: Get a price on the Canon PowerShot S95 at Amazon.

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Barrie Smith
Barrie Smith

is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

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